Rivka Haut, a founder of Women of the Wall, dies

(JTA) — Rivka Haut, a Women of the Wall founder who convened the first women’s prayer service with a Torah scroll at the Kotel, has died.

Haut, who was also a foremost advocate for agunot, Orthodox women who have been refused a religious divorce, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. She was 71.

At the Women of the Wall prayer service on Tuesday, the women recited Kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, in memory of Haut.

On Dec. 1, 1988, she led a group of women in a prayer service with a Torah scroll at the Western Wall. She later helped found Women of the Wall, which continues to hold a monthly morning prayer service at the Kotel.

Haut also was a founder of the Women’s Tefillah Network.

She was the co-author of four books: “Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue,” with Rabbi Susan Grossman; “Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground at Judaism’s Holy Site,” with Phyllis Chesler; “Shaarei Simcha: Gates of Joy,” with Adena Berkowitz; and a forthcoming book about agunot with Susan Aranoff.

Haut had master’s degrees in English literature from Brooklyn College and in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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